Predicting the Weather Course

Course Overview

Weather predictions drive many of our daily decisions about what activities we decide to engage in, whether we make plans outdoor for the weekend, and what clothing we choose to wear.  But forecast models are frequently incorrect, and typically can only predict a short time ahead with any degree of accuracy.  This course will teach you how to observe what is happening in the atmosphere around you at any given moment, so that you can deduce what may transpire in the skies above you in the coming hours or days.

Course Details


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Course Name:                  

Predicting the Weather 


Course Dates:                   

January - December



1-2 Days


Experience & Activity Level:            

An basic understanding of the physical

sciences is helpful but not required.  


Determined by group size,

number of days, location




If you are outside for several days at a time without access to a meteorological forecast, or the atmosphere begins to change suddenly or unexpectedly, can you read the 'signs' around you to predict what may occur and take precautions as appropriate?  This course will show you how to do just that by teaching you a few basic principles, and how to apply them in an easily understandable manner. 


It will start by covering the fundamental laws that our atmosphere adheres to, and then demonstrate how to utilize your 5 senses to observe key details, both up in the sky and in your immediate surroundings.  Next, it will show you how to apply these laws to what you have observed, in order to predict what weather is heading your way.

The course will focus only on essential elements key to reading the upcoming weather (i.e. not a comprehensive meteorology class).  Some of the major topics to be covered include:

•    understanding humidity and dew points

•    reading basic cloud types

•    detecting and understanding high/low pressure systems

•    forecasting with Buy’s Ballot’s law

•    fronts and prevailing winds

•    atmospheric in/stability and thunderstorm development

•    mountain weather patterns

•    coastal weather patterns

•    sun’s orbit in sky and seasonal effects

•    reading animal signs

By understanding the above concepts and knowing how to interpret the current or changing conditions, you will be in a much better position to forecast shifts in weather and hence make wise decisions about your time in the outdoors or in a wilderness survival situation.  It will also help you make sense of meteorological forecasts, and the potential scenarios that might unfold in the near future.


Perhaps more importantly, learning these sills can also be life-saving, especially if you are in a potentially dangerous area like a low lying area prone to flash flooding, or near the top of a high mountain ridge vulnerable to high winds and severe storms.  Even if you are near civilization and only going out for a few hours, it can still make a difference on deciding what activities to participate in, and when to seek shelter or go home.